Here's a unique cover letter tip for this tough job market: Tie your cover letter to your resume by mentioning a particular skill or accomplishment the hiring manager can relate to for his company. For example, suppose you are applying for a job as a regional manager of a retail shoe company. You've had excellent experience training sales people and retaining them. Turnover is low and morale is high under your leadership, thus affecting the bottom line in a positive, profitable way.
You could bring this information to the attention of the hiring manager in this clever and effective way:
I would welcome meeting with you to discuss your need for a regional manager in the area where my family and I will be moving on September 1. I've been a shoe store manager for three years and during my time with The Right Fit shoe store I have trained five new salespeople who have remained with me the entire time. One salesman, Mike Johnson, was so enthusiastic about his job he gave me permission to quote him. "I can't imagine a more pleasant place to work. I like the people here, especially Mark Smith, the manager, and I can earn a good living." Now Mike Johnson is ready to assume my position when I leave!
As you can see from this paragraph, the job hunter, Mark Smith, is making clear to the hiring manager, his own qualifications, as well as the benefit to the company he hopes to work for by using a testimonial from an employee he has worked with at his previous job. If you were the hiring manager wouldn't you want to interview this individual? I certainly would. He not only sounds like a nice guy—but one who knows how to train and retain sales people which increases staff morale and revenue for the company.
A well-written cover letter tied to the accompanying resume in this fashion is certain to win an interview for the writer. Try it for yourself and then get ready to answer the phone.